[b-hebrew] The mystery of vav-consecutive

Ken Penner pennerkm at mcmaster.ca
Tue May 24 09:02:06 EDT 2005

S. R. Driver wrote in 1874. The first English edition of Gesenius' grammar
appeared in 1898. 
GKC's second English edition (1910) refers to Driver's third edition (1892)
in footnote 2, section 106. 
The direction of influence is from Driver to GKC, not the reverse.

Ken Penner

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Peter Kirk [mailto:peterkirk at qaya.org] 
> Sent: May 24, 2005 7:22 AM
> To: pennerkm at mcmaster.ca
> Cc: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] The mystery of vav-consecutive
> On 24/05/2005 03:29, Ken Penner wrote:
> >I think it's fair to say it was S. R. Driver's  _A Treatise 
> on the Use of the Tenses in Hebrew and some other syntactical 
> questions_ that popularized (in English) Ewald's idea that 
> the Hebrew qatal and yiqtol were not past and future tenses 
> but perfect and imperfect "aspects". I recommend the 
> Eerdmans/Dove 1998 reprint with an introduction by W. Randall Garr.
> >  
> >
> I'm not sure that this is fair. Gesenius, or at least GKC 
> (1910, section 
> 40a), says that "The verb has only two tense-forms, (Perfect and 
> Imperfect...), besides an Imperative..., two Infinitives and a 
> Participle". So it was not SR Driver who introduced or popularised in 
> English the terms "perfect" and "imperfect", because they 
> were already 
> used by Gesenius or GKC some time earlier - in English and in 
> the most 
> widespread reference grammar. Of course GKC may have been 
> dependent on 
> Ewald (1803-1875).
> Furthermore, in the note at section 47a, GKC writes "The 
> Indo-Germanic 
> scheme of three periods of time (past, present and future) is 
> entirely 
> foreign to the Semitic tense-idea, which regards an 
> occurrence only from 
> the point of view of completed or incomplete action". In other words, 
> although GKC doesn't use the term "aspect", which was 
> probably not yet 
> in use in general grammatical description, it is aspect that they are 
> describing as the distinction between Hebrew verb forms. And 
> all of this 
> some time before SR Driver, and in English, although perhaps 
> dependent 
> on Ewald.
> So Driver's contribution seems to have been only to introduce 
> the term 
> "aspect" (but not the concept which was already known) into English 
> language Hebrew grammatical studies.
> -- 
> Peter Kirk
> peter at qaya.org (personal)
> peterkirk at qaya.org (work)
> http://www.qaya.org/
> -- 
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